marcescence

do you know this  word?  the definition is: the withering of, but not falling off, as in part of a plant

I discovered this word because I wanted to know why the oak trees that line my street don’t imageshed their leaves in autumn.  Their dry, brown leaves cling desperately throughout the winter wind and rain and then drop just before new buds appear in late spring.  Apparently this is what happens with oak and beech trees.  I found this out by “Googling” my question and read a lovely answer by Michael Snyder at Northernwoodlands.org.  Botanists don’t really know why some trees do this.  Evergreens appear green all year but actually replace all their needles.  Most deciduous trees drop all their leaves in autumn.  But not these two particular species.  No one knows why but the two suppositions are:
1) they drop their leaves in spring to provide their own compost at a time most useful to have extra nutrients
2) the dried leaves provide protection for new buds against nibbling deer and moose and the effects of winter snow and weather

I kind of like thinking about this – wondering about my own efforts at marcescence……..

Evergreen? Maple? Alder? Oak? Beech?  what do I hold on to for months at a time, what do I let go of all at once, what changes are so subtle I don’t even know they are happening?

How about for you?

(it’s day one of the Slice of Life month long writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers – check it out!)

 

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7 responses to “marcescence

  • Lori Kidder

    I suspect the things I hold onto for months don’t protect me as much as they weigh me down. Beautiful images.

  • fireflytrails

    I love your words so much, so well-chosen and so insightful! But it is always the “application” questions – what do I hold on to… – that make me think deeply and challenge me. Thank you!

  • Meril Davenport

    Oh that’s lovely, Amelia….. I am unfamiliar with that word, and I also did not know that the pines and their clan replace their needles annually in spite of their evergreen appearance – that subtlety is a great image. As for the self-reflective aspect, I will have to wait until this fever subsides to contemplate. Huddling under my compost for today……. 🙂

  • elsie

    What an interesting word to discover. I love the sound of saying it (assuming I am using my knowledge of how letters sound when placed together). Now I must ponder my own marcescence. (Spell check does not like the spelling of this word 🙂 )

  • berries781

    I have a tree right outside my house that never loses its leaves and always found it weird! Now I guess I may have an answer!

  • Linda Baie

    Do you know the book by Loren Long, Little Tree? It too is about change, and holding on. Nice to see you back.

  • franmccrackin

    Your post combines three things I love- a great new word, science information that illuminates my world, and an evocative question to take with me as I go.

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